CBS Wins 2010-11 TV Season in Total Viewers, Fox Takes Demo Prize

Adam Rose/FOX

All nets show year-to-year erosion, but NBC drops the most, while a Super Bowl year for Fox helps propel the net past CBS in the 25-54 demo.

For the seventh consecutive year, Fox has closed the season as the top-rated broadcast network among the ad-coveted 18-49 demographic, while CBS was the most-watched network for the eighth time in nine years.

CBS, which has been dogged by the perception that its viewers are old, also ranked second behind Fox in the 18-49 demo. It was the fifth consecutive year CBS finished second in 18-49.
The season does not officially end until Wednesday, but the rankings will not change. Season-to-date through Sunday, Fox is averaging a 3.5 rating in the 18-49 demo, thanks to the NFL, a better-than-anticipated 10th season of American Idol and second-season ratings growth for Glee. The network is averaging 9.7 million total viewers for the season.

Fox also displaces CBS as the top-rated network among older viewers — averaging a 3.9 rating in the 25-54 demo compared to CBS’ 3.8 — mostly likely due to the large overall audience for the Super Bowl.
CBS is averaging a 2.9 in the 18-49 demo with 11.6 million viewers.
ABC and NBC will finish the season third and fourth, respectively in the 18-49 demo as well as total viewers. NBC was buoyed by Sunday Night Football, but surprise hit The Voice premiered too late in the season to give NBC much of a boost.
ABC is averaging a 2.5 rating in the 18-49 demo with 8.5 million total viewers. NBC will likely finish the season with a 2.3 rating and 7.0 million viewers.
So far this season, most networks are showing year-to-year erosion in total viewers and key demos. NBC is down nearly 15 percent in total viewers and the 18-49 demo (a byproduct of an Olympic year for the 2009-10 season). CBS, which had the Super Bowl last season, is down a tick in total viewers and 9 percent in the 18-49 demo. ABC is down slightly in total viewers and 7 percent in the demo. Fox, which did have the Super Bowl this season, is nevertheless down a tick in the 18-49 demo and total viewers.